26th February 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 26th February 2012

Under Starter’s Orders

Well, after some time milling around and waiting for something to happen, we appear to be under starter’s orders regarding the interregnum and the future direction for ministry in this part of East London. The parish review is firmly out (and I hope we have all had a chance to look at it) and the Bishop’s meeting will be this Wednesday at 7.30 in St. Bart’s on the memorable date of Feb 29th. A rare event indeed.

This should be a key meeting. It is our opportunity to hear the Bishop, the Area Dean and the Archdeacon explain their vision, the thinking behind it and how the process might go forward and be realised.  Signs from the other churches for closer co-operation appear positive and we expect them to be well-represented on Wednesday.

Of course we all have questions and concerns – one which was highlighted at the Bart’s DCC  was whether the pastoral care at St. Barts and in the parish might not suffer because of the new Team Rector’s wider responsibilities. This has been raised before and Dave Wade (Area Dean) is aware of this concern and has pointed out that Jane also had many “other” responsibilities in the wider community.

It is questions such as these that we need to raise and Wednesday is perhaps out best opportunity for doing so. If all goes well then we should be able to get down to the nitty-gritty of completing the parish profile, drafting an advertisement and going out and recruiting our new minister!

See you on Wednesday…….


19th February 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene †      St Bartholomew †    St Alban †


Sunday 19th February 2012


The Start of our Lenten Journey


I can’t believe we have come around to the beginning of Lent already. But here we are and on Wednesday we start our Lenten journey with a service of Ashing in both of the churches.

Unfortunately, the practice of entering into the Lenten season has often been reduced to the question: “What are we giving up for Lent?”  This is a good question, but it can only take us so far.

The real question of the Lenten season is: How will I find ways to return to God and journey forward? To help us on that journey we have a number of different events during the season. We have a course based around the film the King’s Speech, for the children we have a course leading to their first communion and Confirmation at Easter. Not to forget to mention a variety of different preachers at the Sunday morning service.

The word ‘Lent’ comes from lengthen as we see the days growing longer. Our journey though Lent means that at the end of that journey we should expect to find ourselves somewhere different from where we started. Our destination is Easter let pray that Lent’s lengthening days prepare us for this wonderful celebration.


12th February 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 12th February 2012


Once  there was a young missionary who was so keen to tell people about God’s love that he decided that he would go to the other side of the world to share the good news there.

So off he went, all the way to the furthest island in the ocean and, as he pulled his boat up the beach with his few belongings, the islanders came to see what was going on.

‘I’ve come to tell you about God’s Son Jesus, who loved everyone and never turned anyone away; he was always merciful and generous’

‘Ah’, said the island chief, ‘that’s very kind of you, but actually we already have some gods and we’re very happy with them. But since you’re here, you can stay if you like – make a shelter over there, on the beach’. So the missionary made his shelter and lived there all his life.

A few years later, another young missionary decided to go to that very same island and, as he pulled his boat up the beach, the islanders gathered round. I’ve come to tell you about Jesus’ he said, ‘the kindest person who ever lived, he loved everybody…..’

‘Oh we know him’ said the islanders,’ he used to live in a hut on the beach’.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were so full of love and faith that everyone could see God’s light shining through us?

                                                                             Ann Easter


5th February 2012 Newsletter

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St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 5th February 2012

Repent O Sinner


Once upon a time, there was a painter named Smokey who was very interested in making a penny where he could,
so he often thinned down his paint to make it go a wee bit further.

As it happened, he got away with this for some time, but eventually a Baptist Church decided to do a big restoration job on the outside of one of their biggest buildings.

Smokey put in a bid, and, because his price was so low, he got the job.

So he set about erecting the scaffolding and setting up the planks,
 and buying the paint and, yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with water...

Well, Smokey was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed, when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, the sky opened, and the rain poured down washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Smokey clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn among the gravestones, surrounded  by puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

Smokey thought maybe this was a judgment from Almighty God, so he got down on his knees and cried out:

"Oh, God, Oh God, forgive me; what should I do?"

And from the thunder, a mighty voice spoke. . . "Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!"


29th January 2012 Newsletter

Posted in Parish

St Mary Magdalene  †       St Bartholomew †       St Alban  †


Sunday 29th January 2012

Moving forwards

Last Saturday some of us attended a day conference sponsored by the diocese on the future Work of the Church in the Diocese (Transforming Presence). The week before we held our own meeting at  Barts to discuss our future ministry and, of course,  we still await the Parish Review; so  I feel as if I am being peppered by meetings, all on much the same subject.

A number of parallel themes have emerged from these meetings.  One was  Mission in the Community  and here the work of Bart’s Centre was highlighted. The Centre is a major bridge between ourselves and the community, and Centre users are seen as stakeholders in the “joint enterprise” of the Centre, rather than simply as tenants or visitors.

A second theme was the importance of Children’s and Youth work. This is always a major issue and much good work goes on, including our Sunday schools and “Stubbers” weekend, but there is scope for more and this could be an area of closer co-operation with other local Churches, and not necessarily C of E churches.

Worship was stressed and we felt open to the possibility of greater variety of worship, perhaps reflecting our own diverse backgrounds. Finally, good and sympathetic pastoral care is essential: we will be looking for a “people person”!

Some of these themes will be discussed further at the Deanery Synod meeting at Barts this Monday and all are welcome to the meeting – not just Synod members.  All will be taken on board at DCC and PCC levels over the next weeks, as  we prepare the Parish Profile, and I hope each of you will continue to help us with your input into the process.